Women at the forefront of Spanish wine

According to a recent survey by Spain’s Women Wine-lovers Association (AMAVI) 87% of women let a male companion choose the wine in a restaurant. Which is interesting. Because while men may be choosing it, when it comes to making it, women are increasingly taking the lead in Spanish wine.

Women aren’t newcomers to the Spanish wine world. Mar Raventós has only recently handed over the reins at Grupo Raventós Cordeníu after 20 years of successful leadership. Rocío Osborne (Osborne) and Marina García (González Byass) are established figures on the marketing and communications side.

There’s the consumer sider too. As President of the above mentioned AMAVI, Sonia Prince de Galimberti is leading a charge to focus more on the needs and wants of female wine consumers. And last year, Almudena Alberca became Spain’s first Master of Wine.

But the task of making wine is still often thought of as a male-dominated world. So, we thought we’d throw a spotlight on three women whose love of wine has driven them out in the fields and led them to produce some of the more interesting, exciting and downright drinkable wines in the market. 

Ana Carazo – La Loba

Photo courtesy of Tim Atkin

Winegrower, winemaker, cellar manager Ana Carazo is the driving force behind La Loba (She-wolf). Her family have been growing vines and making wine in Matanza de Soria in the far eastern edge of Ribera del Duero for decades, and hours in the fields watching and learning as she was growing up left its mark.

While friends at her convent school were wondering where next, Ana headed off to Requena near Valencia to study viticulture. Back in Matanza she set to work tending the family´s centenarian, pre-phylloxera Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo) bush vines. Fighting the famously cold Sorian winter she coaxes optimum intensity from her grapes to produce the excellent La Loba. We’re only three vintages in, but the results are already catching the attention of the critics.

Charlotte Allen – Almaroja

“Spain’s wild west captured and put in a bottle.” That’s how one critic has described the wines produced by Charlotte Allen in the remote village of Fermoselle. “Charlie”, as her friends call her, began her career with a long stint working for a UK wine importer.

But after doing harvests in France, Italy and South Africa, she decided she wanted to make her own product, and set off to study viticulture. A few years later she was searching for a spot to put down roots and, on the advice of wine-making friends, ended up in the Arribes region.

​It’s certainly off the beaten track – “A Year in Provence meets The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” according to Charlie. But wine has been part of the local fabric here since the Middle Ages, and the emphasis is very much on working with the native local varieties like Juan Garcia, Rufete, Brunal, Malvasia or Puesta en Cruz. Using largely manual processes, Charlie is creating create unique Spanish wines bursting with character.

Julia Casado – La del Terreno

Julia Casado doesn’t come from a wine-making family and her route into the Spanish wine world was far from conventional. She initially studied agricultural engineering in Germany (alongside violincello), where she produced a thesis on German wine-making techniques. Thanks to the practical aspects of her studies she gradually fell in love with winemaking and decided to switch focus and studying enology. After several itinerant working and studying in Uruguay, Argentina and Cuba, she came back to Spain in 2013 and settled in Murcia. There her current project – La del Terreno – came to life.

Julia works exclusively with the Monastrell grape (known by the locals as “la del terreno” – the one from the earth) and is dedicated to traditional, minimal intervention methods. Not only does this fit with her philosophy of sustainability and respect for the environment, but it also allows the characteristics of the Monastrell grape to shine.

Julia started in Jumilla, but now has a second plot in Bullas, a mountainous region where the cool air lends the Monastrell grape an even lighter, floral expression. Julia is only a few years into her project, but if the initial results are anything to go by, we’ll be hearing much more about her in the future.

If you’d like to find out more about Ana, Charlie or Julia, or you want to discuss Spanish wine in general,  please contact us and we’ll be happy to tell you more.

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